McKearn Fellows

Northern Illinois University

2017 McKearn Fellows

Dayne Coveyou

Dayne Coveyou


Bio: Dayne is a Physics major pursuing a minor in Computer Science. Highly motivated by his love for science and fascination with fundamental physics, he aims to integrate his degrees together to advance detector technology in the high-energy sector. Already, his research as a Research Rookie is contributing to quality control of small, silicon-based photodetectors for Muon-to-electrons (Mu2e’s) Cosmic Ray Veto at Fermilab. After acquiring his bachelor’s degree, he plans to seek his Ph.D. in Physics. During his ongoing education at NIU, he plans on keeping close ties with Fermilab by taking advantage of more research opportunities and internships associated with it. Supplementing his career goals, Dayne has fostered a healthy love of music as seen by his proficiency in the Alto Saxophone and membership to the Kappa Nu chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, an honorary band fraternity based on service to the community.

Leena Ghrayeb

Leena Ghrayeb


Bio: Leena is an Industrial and Systems Engineering major but is also taking classes on the pre-med track. She is passionate about creating solutions to everyday problems, most specifically in the health field. She is also a Presidential Scholar and is involved in the Society of Women Engineers, the NIU Rover Team, and Research Rookies. As a Research Rookie, she worked on creating bioboron compounds using guanine and adenine to be used in Boron Neutron Capture Therapy, which is a promising form of cancer therapy. Outside of school, she loves to travel and visit new places, and looks forward to studying abroad. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree from NIU, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in patent law, but medical school is also an option. 

 


Victoria Kwaben

Victoria Kwaben


Bio: Victoria is pursuing a Nursing degree and considering minors in Psychology and Chemistry. She aims to work as a surgical nurse and perhaps further her education to be a nurse practitioner or physician. Victoria is passionate about helping individuals through the healing process and giving back to the community.  She is an active Volunteer at Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, IL.  She aspires to work for programs similar to Doctors Without Borders as well as conduct research working towards curing diseases, and discovering ways to improve every day quality of life. In addition to her career interests, Victoria has several other interest and hobbies such as language, music and reading. She is teaching herself to read, write and speak Spanish continuing the 4-year effort from High School. Victoria plays the piano, a skill she has been developing for approximately 13 years. She hopes to expand her musical interests with learning to play the saxophone and cello.

Aspen Wheeler

Aspen Wheeler


Bio: Aspen is a geology major and is also pursuing a minor in chemistry. She is passionate about environmental conservation and providing further evidence of global changes. While in the Research Rookies program, she studied the evidence and abundance of biogeochemical weathering on subglacial Antarctic sediments. In addition to research, Aspen also competes nationally for the NIU Equestrian Team, teaches yoga at Campus Recreation, and instructs science camps at the Morton Arboretum. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in geology. Aspen’s professional goal is employment with the National Parks Service. She would like to use her education from NIU and the McKearn fellowship to educate the public on conservation of the environment.